The Benefits of Crate Training
Posted January 31, 2019
Deciding to crate train your dog is a great way to start the new
year. It can reduce household stress, help with housebreaking a
puppy, and improve overall dog behavior.
Though a relatively simple form of dog training, crate training
does have its challenges. In recognition of National Train Your Dog
Month this January, Kit Darling, infection control coordinator at
the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences, has advice and tips to help make the process easier.
“Crate training can help with house training, prevent
destructive behaviors, provide a safe way to transport your dog in
a car, and provide a safe, calm place for your dog during hectic
times such as holiday meals and parties,” Darling said.
She explained that when traveling, it is helpful for dogs to see
the crate as a familiar place, which will reduce the stress they
may feel when away from home. If they are in an environment where
other dogs are present, such as a veterinarian’s office or dog
competition event, crates can help keep everyone present safe and
When purchasing a crate, there are several options to choose
from, including plastic, wire, and fabric. Darling recommends
starting with a sturdy plastic or wire crate for dogs that are new
to crate training.
She added that many dogs feel more secure in a plastic crate
with solid walls or a wire crate with a blanket draped over the
top. Wire crates are also convenient for traveling, as they can
fold down when not in use.
“The crate should be just large enough for the dog to stand up,
turn around, and lay down comfortably,” Darling said. “If you are
training a puppy, you can buy a crate large enough to accommodate
the dog as an adult, then place a divider in the crate to
accommodate the puppy’s size as he grows.”
Darling said dogs usually will not soil the area where they
sleep, so using a crate without extra space can help with
One of the challenges of crate training is getting the dog to
see the crate as a safe place, rather than a punishment. Darling
recommends associating the crate with toys or treats, feeding the
dog in the crate, and making the crate comfortable with a soft pad
To begin crate training, Darling said to place the crate in an
easily accessible location in an active part of the home. Treats or
toys can then be used to slowly encourage the dog to enter the
Once the dog is completely comfortable being inside, begin
shutting the door for short periods of time, gradually increasing
the length of time the dog is kept inside.
“At first, do not leave the room when the crate door is shut,”
Darling advised. “Once 10 minutes has been successfully achieved,
begin leaving the room. If the dog starts to whine, ignore him, and
let him out when he is calm.”
Crate training can be helpful in many situations, but should not
be used for excessive amounts of time or to punish the dog. Darling
also advised limiting crate time for puppies to one hour for each
month of age, and letting the dog outside to exercise and go to the
bathroom before putting it in the crate.
Darling said that if the crate training process is done slowly
and without stress, the dog may even come to enjoy spending time in
the crate when the door is open. If you are still having
difficulties with crate training, a veterinarian or licensed dog
trainer can provide more advice.
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for
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